Clay Holmes, a New York Yankees reliever, was drafted in the ninth round of the 2011 Major League Baseball draft. He was about to go to Auburn University but turned that down for a $1.2 million signing bonus from the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Between 2012-2018, Holmes pitched minor league baseball with the Pirates and made his big league debut in April 2018 against the Cincinnati Reds. In 2020, he had a severe right arm strain in which he pitched 1.1 innings only that season.
On July 26, 2021, Holmes was traded to the Yankees, and this move proved to be a bargain due to low cost and his 2021 season.
On July 26, 2021, the Yankees traded for Holmes in exchange for minor league infielders Diego Castillo and Hoy Park. On the downside, Holmes had a 5.57 earned runs average which is below average, 4.72 fielding independent pitching, which is again below average, and a terrible 6.3 walks per nine innings during his time with the Pirates. On the positive side, it was a team-friendly deal with club control until 2025.
The former Pirate and current Yankee was pitching in non-pressure spots and did so effectively in those situations. After earning manager Aaron Boone’s trust, he got put into tight situations. He displayed great composure and self-confidence on the mound in those situations.
Holmes was just so impressive last season for the Yankees pitching a 1.61 earned runs average, 2.10 fielding independent pitching, 10.9 strikeouts per nine innings, 1.3 wins above replacements, and 1.3 walks per nine innings. Fielding independent pitching is focused on the events a pitcher has control over such as strikeouts walks, home runs, etc. Wins Above replacement measures a player’s value by calculating how many wins he is worth more than replacement-level at the same position in all facets of the game. Those numbers are outstanding and are way better compared to the numbers he had with the Pirates.
Holmes has a great sinker, curveball, and slider in his arsenal that made last year with the Yankees successful. A sinker is a fastball pitch that has significant downward movement. A curveball is thrown slower and more break than a slider. A slider is thrown faster and with less movement than a curveball.
Lastly, batters had a difficult time getting the baseball in the air, as he generated a groundball rate of 61.5% for the Yankees last season.
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